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Rangell, L. (1995). The Complete Correspondence Of Sigmund Freud And Ernest Jones, 1908-1939. Edited by R. Andrew Paskauskas. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 1993, 836 pp., $39.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:877-882.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:877-882

The Complete Correspondence Of Sigmund Freud And Ernest Jones, 1908-1939. Edited by R. Andrew Paskauskas. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 1993, 836 pp., $39.95.

Review by:
Leo Rangell

To read through this voluminous tome, containing some 700 letters written over 30 years, requires a mission. My handle, or organizing path for this scientific assignment, became “Back to the Future.” By serendipity, I chanced into a rerun of this modern but already classic film while steeped in these letters. Its theme is that if you can go back to where it started, you would understand. Fancifully, you can also, by changing some crucial events, make a new future. It is like psychological gene therapy. Is that not what psychoanalysis is all about (in an individual history)? In a larger view, these letters take us back to a crucial developmental phase—30 years of it—of the history of psychoanalysis itself.

Freud/Fliess, Freud/Jung, now Freud/Jones, with contemporaneous letters to Abraham and Ferenczi, provide us with as direct data as we will get of the beginnings of psychoanalysis. It is important not to equate or confuse these frank letters with free associations, but neither should their significance be diminished, especially because in their nature these unique exchanges partake of the subject they share—looking inward. In doing this, the letters all have another characteristic in common: they seek transference. Even before this was known, Jung, Jones, and the others are relating to a transference figure (not so much Fliess to Freud; there it was more Freud to Fliess; he had to have his day as well), just as transference begins when a patient chooses his analyst, before he meets him.

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